With under five days on the countdown clock showing, preps for the journey to the Arctic Circle are close to being finished.
Miscellaneous needs like testing gear has been completed and after repacking the bike a dozen more times, I’ve been able to find a new home for everything that needs to go along for the journey. Unlike a simple overnight or weekend motorcycle trip where if you forget something you are simply inconvenienced a short time until you return back home, this trip is going to be much longer. Forgotten items to be packed will require purchasing the items as I can while on the road, a very unneeded expense especially with things costing so much more up north.
Except for the riding gear I’ll be wearing, the actual clothing that will be worn for the entire trip and the morning toiletries, the hand tools stored under the motorcycle seat, and the sleeping pad I forgot to put in the picture, this is what everything looks like laid out on the ground:
All of the above fits (plus the previously mentioned things not photographed), all have been made to fit into these:
And everything fits onto the bike like this:
The idea for this trip came about many years ago when I started mentally putting together a bucket list of motorcycle rides I wanted to experience. Since beginning riding motorcycles in my teens, each passing decade has allowed me to travel further on two wheels. Logging hundreds of thousands of miles, each passing year has allowed me to journey to new destinations where I have met many good people and seen the wonders of the world with my own eyes.
My mom used to talk about Alaska from the cruise she took there decades with her own mother; I fondly remember mom talking about the wonders that she saw and we had always joked around about going up there together. Her cancer fights kept this from occurring; her time finally ended without the two of us making our dreams come true. At her passing nearly two years ago, my ride to Alaska became my focus.
Last year I came within weeks of going when I had to back out for personal reasons. The past year has been tough; the promises made to my mom played loudly each day in my mind and my concern came around to the fact that although I had simply postponed my trip for one more year, something else would occur that would prevent my once again leaving the driveway for the last frontier.
Now at about four days out from experiencing a journey that very few people will ever get to experience, I find the anticipation building. Time seems to have begun to really slow down. Since returning from my brother’s wedding last weekend way down south, each passing day seems to taking a near eternity to transpire. A little nervous, but definitely excited. I see so much that can go wrong on this trip.
Over the winter, I have chatted on ADV with many others that had made plans to ride to Alaska. Two of those people have already left…and faced calamities of their own. One ran off the road on the way back to Fairbanks from Prudhoe Bay, the furthest north somebody can ride. He found himself mostly unhurt but with a totaled bike. His journey home continued once he purchased a new motorcycle to ride on. The other person was seriously hurt just a couple of days after leaving his home…the pins and plates holding his leg together a life-long reminder to a journey that the road gremlins very prematurely ended.
The satellite tracker has been tested and is fully charged. Ready to activate very early this Friday morning, it will allow anybody interested to follow along. If you have been reading this blog, you have been driven crazy each time you come here by the pop-up requiring you to click past to view the actual blog. This window is caused by the tracking software on this blog…and something that should disappear on Friday if everything works correctly.
The first day of riding scheduled for Friday requires me to leave the house sold and head around 800 miles to get to the first night’s rest in South Dakota. Looking at the weather forecast, looks like thunderstorms and plenty of rain starting on that day and a few days afterwards. A great way to start the trip in my mind; let’s get the bad weather out of the way up front so I hopefully have great days up north where the scenery actually becomes mind blowing.
I’m hoping to meet up with a riding friend in South Dakota on the following day and another one in Montana the following evening. My plans are to meet a few motorcycle forum friends on this journey and to arrive at Dust2Dawson close to the start of the event to have the biggest chance to put some faces with names. From there, the ride goes where it goes…without a deadline of places to be, things will get played according to weather and desire.
Blog entries here will be short over the trip. This takes a lot of time and the focus for me is to enjoy this trip as much as possible. I do plan lots of video and still-photography along the way; some of the imagery may get shared here during the course of the journey but plan for much more to appear after my return home. I do plan to create a great remembrance video over the next several months; something that gets me excited during the winter months when the snow is piled deep outside.
So maybe one more entry before departure. Maybe not. See you out on the road.